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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rest Patterns

Do you remember TV test patterns?  Recently in a conversation with some peers we were reminiscing on those odd looking, but familiar, mandalas that occupied TV screens while stations were off the air. 

Image result for tv test pattern

Among the several purposes for test patterns was the need to occupy the frequency of the broadcasters signal while programming took a break. The patterns also gave technicians reference points for adjusting things like focus, contrast, and eventually color. Perhaps the most beneficial purpose of the test pattern was hidden and even unintentional - they gave the world a break, time off from the consumption of images and sounds. They helped sustain rhythms and cycles of activity and rest, awake and sleep. They even mimicked the mandala, an ancient art form of introspection, contemplation, and meditation of the universe.

I've rarely been one to pine for the "good old days" but wouldn't it be nice to have test patterns again, not just on televisions, but also radios, computers, phones, and all of the "smart" devices that occupy so much of human time, energy, and imagination? Wouldn't it be nice if the whole world, within our respective time zones, could pause each day, take a deep breath, and get off the media grid if only for a few minutes?

Of course we can do this as individuals and groups. We humans have been meditating, worshiping, gathering, relaxing, and sleeping since our beginnings. However, we also have a strong tendency to be drawn toward whatever is flashing and shining in front of us. 

Our current reality is one of constant exposure to all manner of media containing information and data in imagery and sound. There are no more test patterns. This leaves us to our own devices. And, we do have a choice. We have on/off switches. We have imagination. An amazing creation surrounds us and already provides seasons, cycles, and rhythm, if we will only turn away* from flashing shining screens on our walls, our desks, and in our hands. We may not have test patterns on our media today, but we can develop and practice "rest patterns" in our lives!

*"repent" - to turn from one thing and toward another 

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